Arctic Facts

Here are some interesting facts about the Arctic, which you may not be aware of.

The Arctic is located at the northernmost part of Earth and scientists often describe the Arctic as the area above the ‘Arctic Circle’.

Some of the countries that make up the Arctic are parts of Greenland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Russia, Canada, and the USA.

There are approximately four million people who live in the Arctic, and amongst these are the indigenous people of the Arctic who are called the ‘Inuits’.

The word ‘Arctic’ derives from the Greek word meaning ‘bear arktos’. This is because of the two constellations in the northern night sky, the Ursa Major (Great Bear) and Ursa Minor (Little Bear).

These constellations contain Polaris, otherwise known as the North Star.

Temperatures of -70°c have been recorded in northern Greenland.

Due to the Earth’s tilt, once a year the Arctic has a whole day of sunshine and another day of complete darkness.

It is known that glaciers in the Arctic store about 75% of the world’s fresh water.

Today’s glaciers cover around 10% of the Earth’s total land area.

Everyone thinks that a polar bears fur is white! Actually it’s transparent with a hollow core that reflects the light. This helps the polar bear to stay camouflaged by blending in to their surroundings.

Polar bears have an excellent sense of smell, they can actually sniff out prey up to 16km (10 miles) away.

They have also been known to smell a seal which is around 3 feet beneath the ice and from a distance of 1 km (0.6 miles) away.

Polar bear cubs stay with their mother for about 2 years. She teaches them the skills they need to learn about surviving in the Arctic and hunting for food.

There is one specific species that can only be found in the Arctic and that is the narwhal, which is often referred to as the ‘unicorn of the sea’.

Male narwhals have a straight tusk at the front of their head – this tusk can grow to over 3 metres in length.